One of the most important things you can do to stay healthy is to stay in control of your lower belly fat. That’s because research has shown that reducing abdominal fat can cut your risk of heart disease, stroke, cancer, diabetes, and even dementia.
So what can you do to fight belly fat and be your healthiest self? Some smart tips to try:
1. Have a strong and supportive squad. It’s important to exercise and eat a nutritious and balanced diet to maintain a healthy waistline, but research shows that your social network can have an important impact, too. A study from the University of North Carolina found that supportive relationships with friends and family can protect against stress, while tension and conflict in these relationships can lead to an increased risk of inflammation and increased belly fat.
2. Educate yourself about a healthy lifestyle and diet. Just reading articles like this one and collecting healthy recipes can boost your health. Reading about healthy foods and recipes can increase your fruit and vegetable intake by as much as 60 percent or more, according to research from South Dakota State University, in Brookings.
3. Count your steps. Keeping track of how much you walk during the day with a pedometer has been shown to shed belly fat 55 percent faster, according to a study in the journal Trials. Knowing how much you’re moving—or not moving—can apparently be a great motivator!
4. Eat whole grains to keep your blood sugar steady. Adding just ½ cup of whole grains such as brown rice, barley, and popcorn to your daily diet can help trim as much as 3 inches off your waistline in 6 months, according to research from Yale University. Healthy grains help regulate the levels of insulin, a hormone that, in high amounts, can lead to the growth of belly fat.
5. Fill up on colorful foods. Stock up your fridge and your plate with colorful fruits and veggies; they contain phytonutrients, which reduce the production of cortisol, a key stress hormone that is linked to belly fat. These phytonutrients also switch on enzymes that burn 25 percent more belly fat for fuel, according to research from the University of Bridgeport.
6. Add a little magnesium to your diet. Research shows that taking 400 mg. of magnesium each day may help you shed belly fat 25 percent faster and triple your odds of keeping that weight off. Magnesium triggers the release of fatty acids stored in your belly and allows your muscles to burn them off for energy, according to scientists from the University of Hawaii. Magnesium has also been shown to calm your brain and nervous system and reduce the likelihood of stress eating by as much as 50 percent. (Important note: Be sure to always check with your doctor before taking any new supplement.)
And while you're following these tips, remember to always be mindful about your posture. It sounds simple, but standing up straight with our tummies tucked in is something we all forget to do from time to time. It’s an easy and effective way to slim your belly—in no time flat!
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